Alumilite Casting Resins for Woodturning
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Alumilite Casting Resins for Woodturning

by BVV |

Are you looking for a set of versatile products to complement your woodturning, mold-making and dyeing projects? Best Value Vacs is a principal Alumilite reseller, whose products expand into both wood and casting resins, mold making silicone rubbers, dyes, fillers, release agents and more.

The word ‘Alumilite’ is very similar to the chemical compound aluminite, a hydrous aluminum sulfate mineral that’s found in clay-like and rock masses. Alumilite’s name perhaps comes from its products’ abilities to turn substances into hard solids. Alumilite’s solutions are ideal for hobbies and crafts, auto restorations, lure making, jewelry making, special effects, creative culinary, bar top coatings, and woodturning. More uses include:

  • Industrial short run production

  • Rapid prototyping

  • Plastic forming

  • 3D printing

  • Concrete making

  • Props and costumes

  • Taxidermy

  • Medical instruments

Its resins and rubbers can be used in conjunction with Best Value Vacs’s vacuum chambers, which are widely popular for silicone molding and woodturning. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll take a closer look at its casting resins for woodturning pen blanks, calls, handles, and more. In order to preserve supply and save money, woodturners use every last scrap of wood in their shops. Simply throwing away a piece or shavings of wood because they’re a bit under par is often seen as a waste when there are ways to use it; all it takes is a little elbow grease to bring out its more stable, pliable, and smooth qualities. This is where casting resin is introduced.

Resin is a sticky substance that is used to cure wood because it is insoluble in water and resistant to the effects of moisture. Players of string instruments like violins, cellos, and bases regularly apply resin to the hairs on their bows to help the bow stick to the instrument’s strings and deliver a more forceful, rounded sound. It’s a similar concept when using resin for woodturning. When added to wood blanks or shavings in a mold, it takes the shape and creates a stronger, more turnable product. The process of doing so is simple, but it just requires the right materials and equipment.

Here’s how to implement resin into a mold so that you’re ready to turn old into new again.

  1. First, you’ll need to stabilize the wood. Wood stabilization is the process of taking soft or punky wood, injecting it with resin, and applying pressure to make a harder, more stable wood blank that’s easier to turn. The resin seeps into the pores of the wood, which solidifies under great amounts of pressure in a vacuum chamber. We recommend our Glass Vac chambers for this process because their properties are the most compatible with this procedure. The timeline for stabilizing blanks, from first retrieval to final cure, will take roughly 1-1.5 days.

  2. Once your blanks are fully stabilized, place them in the mold and measure out the required amount of Clear Cast Resin. This optically clear resin provides a more high-impact, glossy finish for any pigment you decide to add. There are two parts to the resin, A and B, that will be mixed together at a 1:1 ratio to form the right composite. Use a volume calculator to accurately achieve equal parts of each in separate containers.  

  3. Next, mix A and B together in another mixing cup, stirring until the resin is clear. Grate any extra resin off your mixing stick to ensure all resin is used. If for some reason you don’t use all the resin, it can be stored in plastic containers for future use.

  4. If you’re looking to follow a specific design, you can now stir in chosen pigments or Alumilite dyes. Alumilite also has metallic powders that can add pearlescent, bronze, gold, silver, or copper finishes that normal paint cannot.   

  5. Pour your resin mixture into the mold box. Cover the wood completely on either side and over the top.

  6. Place your entire mold into the vacuum chamber. The mold must be cured under pressure to avoid visible air pockets in the blank. You can use the same glass vacuum chamber you used for stabilizing the wood as long as you’ve cleaned it thoroughly with soap and water. Press down on the lid to make sure the gasket is secure so no air infiltrates and causes bubbling. Next, apply pressure at roughly 40-60 psi until the resin has hardened enough to be demolded. Do not at any time lift the lid to check if it’s finished: this will compromise the blank.

  7. Allow the resin to cure for another 12-24 hours before you start turning the wood. Alumilite resin can be turned either by woodturning machines or fine sandpaper. You can also add a high gloss to achieve a more plastic polish.

  8. Once you’ve applied the polish, you can assemble the pieces of your final product. Whether it’s a pen, a duck call, bowls, or utensils, you’ve just made a product from salvaged materials you can now “turn” for profit.

There are many other kinds of Alumilite products available at Best Value Vacs that can be used in applications involving our chambers. Contact us to see how we could take your hobby or business venture to the next level.